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Category: Trade Literature

Painted Backgrounds for Turn of the Century Photographers

They’re all over social media – frames, filters, and special camera effects on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms to help you add pizzazz to your selfies and other photos. But is anything really new these days? We found something that may be the grandfather (or at least great uncle) of social media filters – hand-painted backgrounds for photography studios dating from the early 1900s.

File under: Office Organization, 1908

Every once in a while, we come across a trade catalog in the Trade Literature Collection that has a label on the front cover. Recorded on that label is date and location information, such as drawer number. We do not use labels such as that to shelve catalogs at the National Museum of American History Library, but I have often wondered if that label played a role in the way that particular catalog was filed in its past life, perhaps before coming to the Trade Literature Collection.

A Trip to the Library

Do you remember visiting your school library as a child? How did you check out a book? Was it by using a computer or on paper? Most libraries of today still have bookshelves but other things at libraries have changed over the years. In honor of National Library Week (April 8-14, 2018), we’re taking a look back. This trade catalog gives us an idea of what we might have seen if we stepped into a library in 1918.